Indian Cuisine: Spiced Chai Tea

This is the last community kitchen at the Caring Place for 2009.  The reason is the Caring Place kitchen is fully booked for Christmas parties until end of the year.  Minoo has chosen an Indian theme for this meeting.  I love to learn cuisines from other culture.

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Minoo made a popular Indian drink which is the Spiced Chai Tea.  The black tea is flavoured with various spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and clove.  You can serve it with milk or as it is.

In India and Pakistan, Chai Tea is called Masala Chai.  Masala means spices.

Chai Tea is served in many restaurants/cafes.  Here are some of them:

Ingredients

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 piece of ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black tea (strong, loose leaves black tea such as Assam)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar or any sweetener as preferred like honey or palm sugar
  • optional spice: star anise and peppercorns (for a stronger taste)

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Raisin Tea Muffins

For dessert, Minoo prepared a Raisin Tea Muffin recipe.  Muffin is great for breakfast, lunch box, after school snack or tea time.  It is easy to make, easy to transport and quick to bake.  All you have to remember is to combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another bowl and combine them without over mixing.  Over mixing will yield tough muffin.

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This Raisin Tea Muffin has just the right sweetness and has a mild tea flavour with hint of spices.  Perfect with a cup of chai tea.

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Ingredients

  • 1 teabag
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon, nutneg, cardamon and cloves.

This recipe yields 6 muffins.

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Tea Cocktail from Pearl Drops Teahouse

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Updated: 21st Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

ChowtimesNoWord32x32This is an Open Teahouse Cocktail Night by Pearl Drops Teahouse.

I am not much of a tea person, neither is Suanne. The only tea we had ever had on a regular basis is the Ice Milk Tea we get from HK Style Cafe.

So, when we got an invite to a Tea Cocktail event we jumped on this. Pearl Drops Teahouse also extended the invite to readers of chowtimes. We posted the invite a few weeks ago and we were very surprised how well known Pearl Drops is to the tea discerning public.

I tried to rally Doesnt Tazte Like Chicken and Sea Salt With Food to attend this together. Doesnt Tazte Like Chicken came but Sea Salt With Food sent apologies saying she can’t get away.

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Suanne and I does not normally travel to this part of town where Pearl Drops is located. They are conveniently located on the junction of Willingdon and Hastings in Burnaby. Locating the place is a no brainer and parking is also easy (free!).

We went early … like 30 minutes before the event started at 7PM. Our plan is to have tea, spend a little time here and then go for a later dinner with Christina and ET. It was a good decision because the place was absolutely packed when the event got started.

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The man behind Pearl Drops Teahouse is Phong Vo. He started this teahouse with his wife, Huyen, about 3.5 years ago. They had always been running the business from this location since day 1. It was a great pleasure meeting Phong who came across to us as humble and friendly. He is not only knowledgeable about all things tea but we found out that he also cooks.

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I was rather intrigued by the Tea Seminars poster Phong had put up … particularly the one that says Food and Tea Pairing. That’s like wow … $39. I had heard about wine pairing with fine food but with tea? Phong does really take tea to the next level … like making tea a gourmet drink of sorts.

I got to try one of these meals one day. I don’t know what to expect but I just gotta try it! For that kind of money, it better be good. :-p

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In this event, Phong was showcasing three of his signature Tea Cocktails. So what exactly is it? To simply put, it is freshly brewed tea combined with fresh fruit … that’s what my impression was. Suanne loves this a lot.

The one above is called the Solar Flare ($6). It is made of Japanese Karigane Green Tea, Fresh Kumquats and Lemon/Lime. It is noticeably very refreshing for a tea.

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The crunchy kumquats are edible, of course. It is like miniature oranges except that you eat it whole … the sweet rind and the sour juicy centers gives a nice little contrast to the taste.

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Pearl Drops uses only the best of ingredients. Melody showed us a little bit of the Japanese Green Tea they use to make the tea cocktails. We were told that they only use the stem and stalk (not the leaves) which gives the tea the extra mellowness.

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Each tea is steeped with perfect timing and at consistent temperature. The process looked pretty elaborate to us.

Also, they use only the minimal amount of sugar to make the beverage taste better, not to make it overly sweet. They do not touch up their fresh fruit with artificial syrups at all.

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They also had three types of Hor’ Dourves that night. The Coconut Curry Chicken ($8) is normally served with rice but for this night they served it with baguettes. It smells good and the taste of the curry is fresh. We like this … so rich of spices and yet hardly any need for hotness. (more…)

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